One of the most awaited annual festivals in Nepal Shiva Ratri, the day of Lord Shiva is being marked with much fan fare with tens of thousands of people thronging to various Shiva temples around the nation on Monday.
The Pashupatinath temple, situated in the heart of the capital Kathmandu and regarded as the most revered and famous Shiva temples in the world, has a higher number of devotees. According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), this year the expected numbers of visitors are more than 800,000. At the temple hundreds of people are waiting for their turn to come to take a glimpse of their Lord Shiva whereas the queue has reached to various ends of the city.
The day is marked on the waning 15 days of the moon on the Hindhu lunar calendar and which is the moon less dark day.
This year the Shiva Ratri fell on Monday which is believed to be the day of Lord Shiva, giving significance to the worship.
Each Nepali festival is marked with legendary and mythical stories, the Shiva Ratri also reminds people of the legend which says that his wife Goddess Parvati meditated to keep her husband away from the evils.
Another legend says that Lord Shiva drank poison in order to safeguard gods while they were having a battle with the demons.
The day is marked by fasting especially by the women devotees to get a good husband like other traditional festivals of Nepal.
However, on this day even men fast to get away from all sins and move ahead to nirvana.
Not only for local men and women, the day is very much significant to the "Sadhus" or the Saints who follow the path of lord Shiva.
Thousands of Sadhus also come to visit the Pashupatinath temple on this very day to perform worship as per their traditional rituals.
It is said that the Sadhus will not get nirvana, until and unless they visit the Pashupatinath temple.
Meera Sharma, who was on the queue from 5 a.m. in the morning, told Xinhua that every year she visits the Pashupatinath temple to pay respect to lord Shiva.
A housewife, Sharma says that she does not care about hours of queue but to get a glimpse of lord Shiva is very important to her.
More than 3,500 Sadhus have arrived at Pashupatinath temple to mark the day.
According to the PADT, more than 5,000 volunteers including scouts are mobilized to assist the queues.